- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 31, 2004

FRANCE

Premier spared postelection ax

PARIS — French President Jacques Chirac defied public opinion yesterday by keeping his prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, but ordering a government reshuffle after his ruling conservatives were routed in regional elections this month.

The victory for the Socialist Party and its allies in the election to 26 regional councils was seen as a vote of no-confidence in Mr. Raffarin and his reforms, which have prompted protests.



The president’s office said the makeup of the new Cabinet would be announced today.

SUDAN

Islamist arrested, suspected in coup bid

CAIRO — Sudan’s Islamic opposition leader Hassan Turabi has been arrested in the capital, Khartoum, Qatar’s Al Jazeera satellite TV station reported early today.

The television quoted Wissal al-Mehdi, Mr. Turabi’s wife, as saying that “many security men” surrounded the home of the Popular Congress leader and arrested him.

Several leading members of the party also were picked up, she said.

The move came after the arrest of about 10 Sudanese army officers on suspicion of involvement in a military coup attempt apparently related to the ongoing conflict in west Sudan’s Darfur region.

SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO

MILOSEVIC MAY BE PAID UNDER SUBSIDY LAW

BELGRADE — SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC COULD GET A WAGE FROM THE SERBIAN TAXPAYER FOR AS LONG AS HE IS ON TRIAL AT THE HAGUE WAR CRIMES TRIBUNAL UNDER CONTROVERSIAL LEGISLATION ADOPTED BY PARLIAMENT YESTERDAY.

THE LAW AIMS TO PROVIDE ALL SERBIAN WAR CRIMES INDICTEES AT THE UNITED NATIONS TRIBUNAL WITH SALARY COMPENSATION, AND TO HELP SPOUSES, SIBLINGS, PARENTS AND CHILDREN WITH FLIGHT AND HOTEL MONEY, TELEPHONE AND MAIL BILLS, VISA FEES AND LEGAL COSTS.

THE BILL WAS LAUNCHED AMID NATIONALIST RHETORIC ON THE EVE OF AN ANNUAL U.S. RULING ON WHETHER SERBIA IS COOPERATING WITH THE U.N. TRIBUNAL.

PAKISTAN

ISLAMIST MILITANTS EXECUTE 2 HOSTAGES

WANA — ISLAMIST MILITANTS ON THE AFGHAN BORDER FATALLY SHOT TWO PAKISTANI HOSTAGES, A GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL SAID YESTERDAY.

THE DEATHS HEIGHTEN TENSION ON PAKISTAN’S REMOTE AFGHAN BORDER WHERE ABOUT 5,000 TROOPS ATTACKED 400 TO 500 AL QAEDA AND OTHER ISLAMIST FIGHTERS IN A 12-DAY OFFENSIVE THAT ENDED SUNDAY WITH MORE THAN 100 PEOPLE DEAD.

THE HOSTAGES WERE FOUND MONDAY IN A DITCH NEAR WANA IN RUGGED SOUTH WAZIRISTAN WHERE THEY WORKED AS OFFICIALS.

CONGO

U.N. PEACEKEEPER FATALLY SHOT IN EAST

KINSHASA — UNIDENTIFIED GUNMEN KILLED A SOUTH AFRICAN U.N. PEACEKEEPER IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO’S VOLATILE EASTERN TOWN OF BUKAVU, AN OFFICIAL WITH THE UNITED NATIONS SAID YESTERDAY.

THE ATTACK OCCURRED TWO DAYS AFTER AN APPARENT COUP ATTEMPT IN KINSHASA, THE CAPITAL, AGAINST A POWER-SHARING GOVERNMENT THAT TOOK CONTROL LAST YEAR, OFFICIALLY ENDING A FIVE-YEAR WAR THAT LEFT MORE THAN 3 MILLION PEOPLE DEAD.

SPAIN

BUS ACCIDENT SURVIVORS DIE IN COPTER CRASH

MADRID — A RESCUE HELICOPTER EVACUATING TOURISTS INJURED IN A BUS ACCIDENT ON SPAIN’S CANARY ISLANDS CRASHED YESTERDAY, KILLING TWO DUTCH TOURISTS AND THREE CREW MEMBERS, POLICE SAID.

THE HELICOPTER RAN INTO POWER LINES AFTER PICKING UP TWO DUTCH WOMEN INJURED WHEN THEIR TOUR BUS ROLLED DOWN AN EMBANKMENT ON THE ISLAND OF GRAN CANARIA, A CIVIL GUARD POLICE SPOKESMAN SAID.

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